Florida requires African American history. Some say it isn’t being taught.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
This is an undated photo of July Perry, a Ocoee resident who was lynched in November 1920.  (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel)
This is an undated photo of July Perry, a Ocoee resident who was lynched in November 1920. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel) [ AP ]
Published Feb. 7

The big story: Gov. Ron DeSantis argues that Florida needs teach the facts of African American history. State law, he points out, requires it.

At the same time, DeSantis contends that certain parts of that history are akin to political indoctrination. The example of Rosewood descendants seeking reparations comes to mind.

Proponents of ensuring that Florida’s Black history isn’t lost or whitewashed see a problem in the governor’s approach. They suggest that whatever modest gains the state has seen in adding more of the specific stories to the curriculum, such as the 1921 Ocoee massacre, might fall to the wayside under the current political climate.

“Is there a concerted effort to suppress teaching of the African and African American experience?’’ Florida A&M associate professor Bernadette Kelley-Brown asked rhetorically. “The answer is yes.” Read more here.

Hot topics

University presidents: Ben Sasse sent emails to students and staff on his first day as UF’s new president. He called for input into a strategic planning effort. Students greeted Sasse with protests and demands, the Gainesville Sun reports. Sasse is expected to announce plans to expand the school’s Jacksonville presence on Tuesday, the Florida Times-Union reports. • New College of Florida trustees have called a single-item meeting for Feb. 13 to consider a contract for Richard Corcoran as interim president, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Teacher pay: Volusia County teachers and the school district have reached a contract agreement after having been at impasse, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Student data: Some Duval County parents are complaining that the school district asks children in middle school about their sexual activity as part of an annual youth risk behavior survey, WTLV reports.

Library books: Teachers at a Broward County school were told to cover their classroom libraries in response to state law, WLRN reports. Officials said it was not a district level directive.

Equity and diversity: The Palm Beach County school district is poised to remove references to inequities and institutional racism from its equity policy, to fall in line with new state law, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Employee shortages: The Alachua County School Board will consider lowering the education requirements for some jobs as a way to attract more applicants, Main Street Daily News reports.

Academic freedom: Attempts by Florida’s Republican government officials to limit instruction at universities and overhaul their operations could mark a significant shift after a century of increasing academic freedom in postsecondary education across the nation, the Washington Post reports.

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Today in Tallahassee ... The House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. to hear presentations on the governor’s budget proposal and on school choice scholarship and voucher programs. HB 1 to create universal education savings accounts is not on the agenda. The Hill offers an explainer on education savings accounts. • The Senate PreK-12 Education Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. Its agenda includes a bill to require instruction on the proper use of social media, and to allow charter school students to play sports at private schools without attending there. • The Legislature also continues its special session, which includes legislation to reformat a special taxing district that benefits Disney. The effort comes after Disney did not support the “parental rights in education” bill last year.

From the court docket ... An Orange County family has sued the school district, claiming her daughter was lured and kidnapped while using a district-issue laptop that did not have appropriate controls, WKMG reports.

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Before you go ... Beyoncé set the record for most Grammy wins. She did it with Break My Soul.

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